The Boston Globe won Pulitzer Prizes for commentary and photography on Monday, earning multiple awards for the first time since 1984 and joining a wide-ranging group of honorees in journalism and the arts.
Former Globe opinion writer Farah Stockman won for a series of columns about Boston after busing, and Globe photographer Jessica Rinaldi won for heartwrenching pictures that documented the hard life of a child in poverty.
The New York Times, The New Yorker magazine, and the Tampa Bay Times — which won awards for both local and investigative reporting — also won multiple prizes in this year’s competition, which recognized the best journalism published by newspapers, magazines and websites in 2015.
“I’m grateful that the work of The Boston Globe continues to be admired by the respected journalists who award Pulitzer Prizes,” said John W. Henry, the Globe’s owner and publisher. “The Greater Boston community is well-served by a dedicated staff — both on the editorial and news side — committed to shining a light on important issues within our community.”
The winners announced by Columbia University in the 14 journalism categories included coverage from around the nation and the world, from the Los Angeles Times’ moment-by-moment reporting on the San Bernardino shootings to an Associated Press investigation that revealed slaves are being used to catch the fish Americans eat.
The Tampa Bay Times won awards for an investigation — in collaboration with the Sararsota Herald-Tribune — into Florida mental hospitals, and for its coverage of a local school board’s questionable oversight of five predominantly minority elementary schools.
And in a clear indication of the changing media landscape, journalists at two nontraditional news organizations — nonprofits The Marshall Project and ProPublica — shared this year’s award for explanatory reporting, for what the judges called “a startling examination and exposé of law enforcement’s enduring failures to investigate reports of rape properly and to comprehend the traumatic effects on its victims.”
Winners in arts, letters, and music included “Hamilton” — the hit Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda; “Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS,” Joby Warrick’s entry in the General Nonfiction category that traced the roots of the Islamic State to the Iraq war; and author Viet Thanh Nguyen’s novel “The Sympathizer.” Nguyen, a former fellow at Harvard’s Radcliffe Center, was coincidentally scheduled to appear at Harvard Bookstore Monday night.
For the Globe, the awards were the third and fourth in the last three years. Monday’s awards were the 25th and 26th Pulitzers overall for the Globe.
Stockman, now a reporter at The New York Times, spent years reporting from all over the world on the long, complex legacy of a judge’s desegregation order 40 years earlier.
“Slavery is over. Jim Crow, as our parents knew it, has ended. The civil rights movement is ancient history to kids today. Even the era of race-based remedies — court-ordered busing, affirmative action, majority-minority political districts — is fading,” Stockman wrote. “What happens next?”
The series, said Globe Ideas editor Kathleen Kingsbury, “plumbed a dark part of Boston’s history, uncovering truths that weren’t always pretty or popular but are incredibly important to understanding how we view education and the inequities that still exist today.”
Kingsbury — who won the 2015 Pulitzer for Editorial Writing for a series about labor practices in the restaurant industry — said Stockman’s columns “have always been remarkable for the deep reporting she does, the connections she is able to make with her sources, and the rich, graceful storytelling she accomplishes.”
Stockman was in the Globe newsroom via videoconference during the announcement Monday afternoon, and she congratulated her former colleagues for a third consecutive winning year. The Globe won in 2014 for its coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings.
Stockman’s award, along with Kingsbury’s last year, “are a welcome sign that sharp, fact-based opinions still matter, and that the strongest opinions rest on a foundation of rock-solid reporting,” said Globe editorial page editor Ellen Clegg.
Rinaldi’s series of pictures documenting the life of Strider Wolf, a Maine boy living in staggering poverty with the scars of past abuse, won in the Feature Photography category.
“Documentary photography is all about building relationships with your subjects,” said Rinaldi, 36, who learned she had won when an editor called her in Atlanta on Monday afternoon, where she’s photographing the Celtics opening round playoff series. “It allows you to be sort of a fly on the wall.”
She and reporter Sarah Schweitzer — a Pulitzer finalist last year — spent months with Strider and his family, visiting them again and again as they bounced between homes. One memorable picture showed Strider and another boy peering at the moon from the stripped remains of an old car.
“It’s such a metaphor, these two little boys standing on a car that’s not going anywhere but looking up at the moon,” Rinaldi said. “I was holding my breath and hoping it was in focus.”
When the announcement came down shortly after 3 p.m., Globe director of photography Bill Greene called Rinaldi with the news.
“I said, ‘Do you want to come home?’ ” Greene said. “And she said, ‘No, I want to shoot the game tomorrow.’ That’s why she’s great.”
In a rare feat, another of Rinaldi’s projects was named a finalist in the same category in which she won. That series of pictures documented the struggles of an East Boston woman fighting heroin addiction while raising young children.
“Both of those stories were tremendously meaningful to me,” Rinaldi said.
Such stories are where Rinaldi excels, said Globe editor Brian McGrory.
“Jess obviously has a magnificent visual eye. But her real talent is being able to see deep into the human condition,” McGrory said.
“The Globe newsroom is committed to high-impact journalism,” McGrory said, “uncovering wrongs as much as covering stories, looking unflinchingly at societal ills.” The two awards, which came for work exploring racism, segregation, and poverty, are “a wonderful tribute to Jess and Farah and validation of the work of this entire staff.”
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